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Attitudes toward supplier integration: the USA vs China

Yang S. Yang (Department of Marketing and Management, College of Business Administration, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA)
Thomas J. Kull (Department of Supply Chain Management, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)
Abraham Y. Nahm (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA)
Benbo Li (Department of Management, School of Economics and Business Administration, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 7 August 2017



Studies show the benefits of supplier integration, yet negative attitudes toward supplier integration exist that research fails to explain. The purpose of this paper is to investigate managerial attitudes toward supplier integration and how intra-firm processes and culture affect the formation of such attitudes. In particular, the paper aims to examine the differing influences between the USA and China.


Using multi-group structural equation modeling, the authors re-analyzed the data collected by Nahm et al. (2004) and Li et al. (2014) comprised of responses from 224 US and 117 Chinese manufacturing managers.


The study finds that managerial attitudes toward supplier integration depend on the degree to which a collaborative organizational culture and synchronous manufacturing practices exist within a firm. Moreover, in the Chinese context, the influence of a collaborative organizational culture is lower than the influence of synchronous manufacturing practices. The opposite is found in the US context.

Practical implications

The results suggest that overcoming negative attitudes of supplier integration requires more than simply espousing the benefits of supplier integration; looking deeper into an organization’s internal characteristics and situational context is required. In particular, if the country context already emphasizes the collaborative culture, the organization should focus on synchronous manufacturing practices in order to form a positive attitude toward supplier integration.


This paper is the first to examine how managerial attitudes toward supplier integration are formed. The work is novel because the authors suggest that the formation of managerial attitudes toward supplier integration inter-firm management can be affected by intra-firm management in the minds of managers, which are influenced by country contexts.



Yang, Y.S., Kull, T.J., Nahm, A.Y. and Li, B. (2017), "Attitudes toward supplier integration: the USA vs China", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 37 No. 8, pp. 1094-1116.



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